Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Training Moment

I awoke this morning with the sound of my phone alerting me to new text messages.  The contractor is advising no work today due to the weather. I'll miss the hours/pay but it's nice to have the time off. A good day to swap vehicles at the local shop to get oil changed and some brakes on the ML320 and an oil change on the work truck, my little Ranger.

I decided to make some breakfast for Mary and I then dive into an email I received last night from a fellow pilot. Let me explain, there are a few of us who stay in contact, via email and text, we tap on each others experiences for teaching moments. The pilot experience ranges from former airline pilot, CFII's right down to yours truly, private pilot instrument rated.

Here is last nights scenario.

A pilot flight planning enters his/her acknowledged ATC route through the use of Foreflight and a flight stream 210 to upload directly to their 430/530 panel mount GPS. no problem, right? Not so fast.
The route of flight is KHEF to KPDK. For this flight we are directed to fly the ARSNL4 departure procedure, departing RWY 34R. Lets review.
Seems pretty straight forward with a climb on a 341 heading to 800' then climbing left turn to join the CSN 056 radial, cross SHRLI at 2000...and so on, we got it covered.
Ok, we're going to add the SID to the flight plan through the iPad/Flight Stream 210 and then we should be good to go.
Showing direct SHRLI
Now select the runway and we're all set. Quick review and we notice an issue. Foreflight shows direct SHRLI but the written text is different. Climb heading 341 to 800' then climbing left turn to join the CSN 056 radial, cross SHRLI at 2000...
Here is a view of the sectional depicting terrain and obstacles. Just on the other side of the noted tower is the SHRLI intersection on the 056 radial.  The Foreflight SID has us climbing direct, the actual departure procedure has us climbing out to 800 then a "climbing" left turn to SHRLI crossing at 2000.
If the SID is entered on the 430/530 directly you will see the difference in the plan. Let's work through it.

The flight plan is entered and the departure procedure selected. Now look at the difference on the 530 display.
No direct leg to SHRLI. I zoomed and added the dotted red line showing the actual DP if we fly it according to the written text.
Added the dotted red line to depict the SID
As one of the more experienced pilots in our group noted: "It is quite possible that an errant pilot new to all this may just turn on the autopilot at 800' and find himself turning direct when he/she should be flying the SID as per the plate. In this case just a climbing left turn.  I acknowledge that there may be no issue at all to be concerned about. You can actually fly this particular SID using the direct leg and not hurt yourself. However, I am assuming there are SIDs out there where this combination of entering SIDs in Foreflight and then uploading them to a navigator might get you in trouble. The different methods of entering a SID give different results."

 So, my take is that with the easy peasy entry of flight plans thanks to the Flight Stream 210 we will still need to verify what is displayed vs what the SID/STAR depicts.
I have found that it is easier when flying a pre-programed route of flight that I amend the route with the departure/approach from the panel mount 530 and then select "load from panel" on the iPad.

I'm very interested to see what others have found when loading procedures and amending their routes.  Thanks to the group of pilots I call friends, that not only share these great teaching moments but take the time to discuss the various aspects of the issues.


On Tuesday, June 28, 2016, ForeFlight <team@foreflight.com> wrote:

After consulting our team this is what we have found. This is a current limitation of the Garmin connect system. ForeFlight is unable to understand all of the leg types that a procedure might have and therefor we can't display it. This happens all the time when we try and pull up procedures that include headings. The app should pop a warning message that says there are legs of this procedure that aren't displayed.

When we transfer plans from ForeFlight to Garmin it doesn't just call up the procedure by name but sends the individual legs across. This would lead to the differences you are seeing. The temporary solution for safety reasons is that when we show the 'legs not displayed message' so that you verify it pulled up the correct path on Garmin.

We hope this provides some insight into the issue.

Let us know if you have any further questions -- We're happy to help.

Dominik Ochmanek
Pilot Support Team
ForeFlight LLC


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Approaches Completed

It's time to fly!
With the new airport hangar and trying to meet pilots, it has been very hard to find a safety pilot, even after two years. I joined the local aviation club but there are only a few who own planes and I don't see any that fly them.

With out sounding weird I can't begin to express how much I miss flying with Mike B.  With our move to Ocean City and his move to Boston we have each struggled finding people to fly with. Thankfully we text each other and call sometimes to discuss flying. I really need to get 08Romeo up to bean town and get us back flying. It's unbelievable but I miss his torture when flight training.

looking across the bay to cape may
still some mist in the fields
With all this in mind I posted on Facebook for a safety pilot, since most of my FB friends are pilots. Once again Bob C came to my rescue. Bob was available this weekend to fly and we spent five hours today knocking out six approaches for me and one for Bob. We also fit in breakfast at Cape May NJ before flying back to KOQN, Brandywine airport.
I got the fan turning on 08Romeo and before the avionics were up and online I noticed my Collins Comm 2 was dead. I switched it on and off and heard faint static and the transmit light would glow every time I keyed the PTT.  I had this radio repaired by Stellar Avionics back in May 2011. Time to send it out again. Today I fly with the Garmin 530 only.
Here are the approaches I did today along with multiple procedure turns, VOR tacking and a hold.

KOQN - VOR-A (2)

I was surprised I didn't have more rust but I flew the needles pretty well and Bob only gave me a few corrections after he intentionally distracted me. I think he's enjoying that part.
busy at cape may
I know we should practice like we fly but I don't review the plate in as great detail as I do in the clag. I'm also not one to review out loud and that's from flying with my Bride who doesn't really want to know, or hear, all that pilot stuff. I will say I do review plates before our flights so I am familiar with procedures and always review the sectional for terrain issues.

As a follow up to the Collins radio issue. I will say muscle memory is a real deal.  I reached for the audio panel multiple times to update AWOS and caught myself flipping the switch for comm 2.

traffic south bound I95
boat traffic along RT90
It felt really good flying today. I miss it, and the weekday hops to keep sharp. I'm looking forward to getting back to the retired life and get-aways with the Bride.
Bob, your plane!
BIG THANKS to Bob C!!  You're the man! You have saved my bacon the last two times I needed a safety pilot. Thanks for being there and I hope I can return the favor.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Upholstery Issue and Fix

I decided to finally remove the pilot seat cushion from 08Romeo and send it out for repairs.  During one of our trips, I think on the way home from Kansas, while setting up to land, I reached for the Johnson bar to add ten degrees approach flaps.  When adding the second notch the clamps on the bar snagged my seat cushion and ripped it open when I forcefully grabbed until I got the locking click for second notch.

I was just sick! I used some of that vinyl tape to cover it up and finally addressed the problem this past Sunday while waiting for the airshow to begin.  Mary and Ziva accompanied me so they could get their walk in and then Mary could broil in the sun out in front of the hangar. I was broiling in the plane with very little breeze and temps climbing. I think I sweated out at least a gallon. As I was removing the seat from the track I remembered I had swapped out the old style cotter pins for the newer type reusable/locking pins at annual.

 The pins were out with a simple push and release, just like opening up a diaper pin. I slid the seat back in the track and lifted out the front and back in the designated areas.
While I had the seat out I lubed the tracks and release mechanism with a quick spray of LPS 1® Premium Lubricant.  I use this product for door hinges, locks, fuel caps and aileron bushings too.

The original method of holding this bracket in place, on the flap bar, by the previous owner was filament shipping tape, the strong stuff with all the strands. I had replaced it after purchase since it was ugly, loose and just a poor way to secure the attachment. I took advantage of the round Johnson bar and added two mini hose clamps to secure the bracket. I hadn't covered them and one loosened and slid slightly towards the pilot seat and ended up cutting the cushion.
this is with electrical tape, I'll post the new with the handlebar grip tape
I now removed and replaced both clamps and realigned so there is no chance of slippage. Torquing the screw/hex heads with a nut driver and ratchet sealed the deal. I then used a bike handle bar or aluminum bat wrap type of grip material to cover it, matching the rubber grip at the end of the bar.

example, only the opposite side
I asked the locals at work, those that are into car and bike restoration, what is the best shop to use. I got two names and went with the shop just down the street from my project. I placed a call and then ran over the seat cover at lunch to get an idea if this can be repaired or I need a new cover.  I plan on putting this cushion on the right rear seat and the repair will be against the rear interior panel.
The job looks good and no more nasty looking tear in the leather seat. I have also been giving some thought to wrapping all the interior trim with leather, we shall see.

The new clamps work great on the bar and I'll add a picture of the new grip tape very soon.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Quick Morning Hop

I wanted to make a quick hop this morning before the air show TFR went active at Ocean City. I treated today like a typical work day morning taking care of the zoo then getting ready to head out the door. I missed sunrise but I was at the airport early enough to catch the sun peak over the tree line.
08Romeo needed fuel but the terminal wasn't open yet. I completed my preflight and then taxied 08Romeo over to the self serve, taking on enough fuel to bring me to forty gallons.
Climbing out of OCMD
I launched off runway two and made a nice steady climb tracking direct to the Waterloo VOR. I even tracked nav two, the Collins, although it was pretty hard to even waste a moment of outside viewing time. At three thousand feet I could see the Salem cooling towers just SE of Wilmington and could see across the bay to Cape May.
My project
As I approached Waterloo I broke off the direct to and picked out my target along SR1. My project is located next door to a Lowes so it's very easy to see. I slowly circled down clearing for traffic then started clicking off pictures. I made a lap or two on station then pointed for home.
Indian River inlet bridge
I made my call at ten miles out and shortly after that call the jump plane asked my position. I updated at seven miles just north of RT 90 and the jump plane acknowledged. I watched him take off runway three-two and climb out to the south. Advising I had the departing traffic and I was now at four miles he doubled clicked to acknowledge.
Heading home, TFR info
Adding the last notch of flaps at five hundred feet and a bit of nose up trim has 08Romeo rolling on the runway with just a bit of a squeak from the mains. Mission complete, time to head home for breakfast!
Jump plane lost its cargo!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Nags Head, NC

The Plan
Mary and I planned a quick get-away weekend since our calendar was free.  On Tuesday I called our favorite hotel in Nags Head, NC., the Surf Side, with the hope of finding a room with an ocean view still available. We were in luck, one room with a king bed and a balcony view of the ocean, sign us up!

Wednesday after work we headed to the airport to give Ziva some play time and I could ready 08Romeo.  I took on fuel to bring the plane to fifty gallons, checked oil and completed a preflight. With 08Romeo good to go I just needed to watch the weather and put my flight plan together. Our normal plan is to fly along V139 to Cape Charles then fly the coast line to First Flight and cut across the bay to Manteo, MQI.  That's what I filed for and that's the email I received confirming ATC's routing.

The Flight

I bugged out of work early and Mary had the pets boarded and our bags ready for me to load in the SUV.  We packed a bag with cold drinks and snacks then headed for the airport.  I tugged 08Romeo out into the sun and did another pre-flight then saddled up for our flight, we were both excited.
The clearance
I contacted Potomac clearance delivery and my routing had a slight change.  We would fly to Norfolk (ORF) then Stay on V139 to SUNNS to V266 ECG then direct. Not a big deal but we would have preferred the coast instead.  We launch and track a 270 degree heading as we climb out until Patuxent confirms our position. Once ID'ed, we are turned direct Snow Hill (SWL) and we're on our way.

ADS-B is tracking multiple targets heading the opposite direction but I have no visual yet. At this point Patuxent turns me to a 180 degree heading, I acknowledge and make the heading change.  As soon as I'm established on the new heading ATC then directs me to intercept the 060 degree radial inbound to Snow Hill. Honestly, that caught me off guard, but I quickly checked to see exactly where I was in reference to the Snow Hill VOR. I hadn't set up the Garmin 530 nav yet, I like to keep each VOR dialed in, in advance.
I did have Snow Hill set up on number two nav, the Collins 351. One nice feature of the Collins is the ability to track the radial so with a flip of the switch I noted crossing the 053 degree radial. I spun the CDI for nav two to 060 and then immediately set up the 530 for Snow Hill and Cape Charles. I watched both nav's count the radials as I crossed until 060, then I started my right turn inbound. At this point ATC asked if I was inbound, I guess they prompt you just in case. I acknowledged already turning inbound on 060.
Direct MQI
It was good to shed the rust and get on my IFR game. Having not flown much since I went back to work it was good to see that the muscle memory kicks in and you just do that pilot stuff without trying to think it through. We crossed Snow Hill and could see Wallops pass by followed by passing over Accomack. Patuxent handed us off to Norfolk approach and we road along for a short time when, without asking, we were given direct Dare County (MQI). Nice!
I pointed 08Romeo to her new heading and we were soon heading out over the ocean. Hmmm... I haven't been this far off shore and as we crossed the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay at only six thousand I had concerns of making land. I didn't hear any funny noises or 08Romeo didn't feel any different but as pilots we are always looking for an out, working our plan, staying ahead of the plane. At the very least with the strong tail winds pushing our ground speed to 150 plus and hitting a high of 160 knots I figured I could climb and make the south side of the bay, maybe even land at Oceania NAS...(insert eye roll).
Mary and I enjoyed the coast and we were treated to an F18 passing just off the nose and nine hundred feet above. It was an awesome view of the worlds finest as we watched the aircraft streak by and out of sight.  After that treat we were handed off to Cherry Point approach and continued towards MQI. I did manage a good shot of First Flight off our left wing and continued my descent for the pattern at Dare County. I canceled IFR at five miles out and switched over to unicom to announce my position and intentions. I was following the jump plane in as I watched him turn final when I called out a two mile forty-five entry for the left downwind runway five. I exchanged position reports with a helicopter giving rides and made a nice landing coming over the water and across the numbers, always a beautiful view.
First Flight
Mary secured the rental car as I secured the plane. I can't remember the last time I used the tail cover or the plane cover, we usually put 08Romeo in a hangar, even when on the road. With the ac cranked up we hit the road for Nags Head. So much has changed since our last visit back in 2011. We really like it here, always have, and the people are so friendly. Off to our hotel to check in then time to scout out the area.
We made our rounds noting locations and all the new construction. We eventually decided on dinner at Millers Waterfront, great food and service, we would eat here again. Yes, we got our desserts to go and had them back in our room.


Our loud neighbors were up and down the hall yelling at kids and playing. Really, 7:30 and you're all this loud? I got up and opened the door, it was like ringing the school bell at Catholic school, everyone froze. I looked at the parents, grandparents and the little kids, they looked at each other and then everyone looking at me said good morning. Grr...I nodded my head and shut the door. We didn't hear a peep after that.
We grabbed breakfast at the hotel then headed out to the beach.  Today was all about relaxing and enjoying the sound of waves crashing and the seagulls squawking.  We decided to rent two chairs and an umbrella ($32) then settle in for the day. I managed to get this blog started and catch a few Z's in between.
A sand crab ducking in and out of a hole in the sand.
Jennette's Pier in the background
I was treated to a biplane making multiple passes up the beach every time they gave a ride from the airport. We saw a few dolphins swimming up the coast and pelicans flying low over the water in perfect formation. A Robinson helicopter made a few passes as it gave rides up the coast, business seemed pretty good today. I really got a laugh watching the banner tow planes as they turned north up the beach after crossing the shore line pointed east. Each plane pretty much turned around and pointed directly at the beach and had to crab their way along the shore line, not a fun ride for them.
After deciding to call it a day we packed up and headed back to our room for some rest and showers. We dressed for dinner and headed out early so we could hit a few of our favorite shops. The final stop was dinner at JK's Steaks and Seafood. Mary and I both agree that JK's is by far the best steaks we have ever had. The owner stopped at our table and chatted for a bit as he does with all his guests, a nice touch for his patrons.

With full tummys we headed back to the hotel with desserts to go in hand. We both settled in and watched some TV then passed out.


Did you hear that, I asked. Mary said hear what, the sound of silence, I said. Our neighbors were very quiet this morning. Big evil grin.

The plan was to head to the beach for a few hours then clean up, pack up and head home.  That plan didn't last long after I suggested getting in the air early and heading home so we could dump the bags, grab a couple of chairs and head to the beach club at home. We were packed and checking out in record time. Breakfast? We ate the blueberry cobbler from JK"s with the vanilla ice cream. Yes, we got a few strange looks from the other guests in the breakfast room but neither of us really cared.

We arrived at Dare county and passed through the security gate and parked in front of 08Romeo so we could load the bags. I usually climb on the wing and fold up 08Romeos cover, today my Bride decided she would do the wing thing. As she climbed up she struck her ankle on the flap, it was loud and I thought for sure she was coming off the wing. She did manage to hold her balance but the ankle did not do so well, thankfully no cut. Like a trooper she stayed the course and folded the cover and rolled it up for storage.
I finished up the pre-flight, adding oil, and getting everything secured in the baggage compartment except one bag so I could put my sump away and oil spout. I did have to clean the windscreen, it was really dirty. I grabbed the pledge and a clean microfiber towel from the baggage area and climbed up on the wing. When finished the one side I needed to rinse and repeat for the other. As I came off the wing I tripped backwards on the bag I left out and took a real header landing on my left forearm and elbow. No skin loss just a massively bruised ego.

I joined Mary in the air conditioned car and we headed back out the gate to settle up the fuel bill and hand over the rental keys. What a start to the trip home.
I departed runway two-three and climbed over the Croatan Sound in a left hand pattern. I heard the jump plane give a warning for time to jumpers away as we crossed the Roanoke Sound just north of RT 64. I contacted Cherry Point Approach and requested flight following, now reporting three miles south of First Flight I punched in the squawk code, advised my cruising altitude and fought the headwinds through the climb to six point five. Oh how we pay the piper for the most excellent tailwinds we had heading south on Friday.

I was handed off to Oceania then two sectors for Norfolk and eventually Patuxent when closing on Accomack. According to the AWOS the winds had picked up at home, 280/11 G22. I cancelled flight following and switched to Unicom to make my position calls at five miles inbound for midfield left down wind runway three-two. It got bumpy when we got below three thousand and even worse at pattern. Once turned final I set up for a nice crab and worked the throttle for a smooth landing, we were home.
I tucked 08Romeo in the hangar and I will get back out the airport tomorrow night to clean her up and plug in the battery minder. With a pat on her cowl I thanked her for getting Mary and I home safe. Lights out and locked up we were heading home.